5 thoughts on “Podcast part deux

  1. Ryan

    Hey guys, I liked the podcast, thought I might follow up on the discussion of my “hit by a bus” article.

    Roy, I think the reason that my article didn’t speak to you is that we’re coming from pretty different perspectives, debate wise. From your bio and the little bit you mentioned in the podcast, I’m guessing that as director of debate your job includes teaching debate classes, coaching the team after school, going to tournaments, cutting cards, etc. Debate is your day job, from what I can tell.

    That is awesome. If every high school in the country had a director of debate, the world would be a better place as far as I’m concerned.

    But let me tell you how many policy debate coaches have that job description in Minnesota: One. Everyone else either is a college/law student, has a day job outside the school (I’m a software developer, fr’instance), or works as a teacher in the school and coaches debate as an extracurricular. It’s not their day job, in other words.

    And that means that no matter how much we love it, our ability to coach debate is dependent on forces outside of our control. When faced with a decision between debate and their day job or family life, no sane person chooses debate.

    That’s what I meant by “hit by a bus.” You get the promotion, you have a child, you make it into Michigan Law, and your life as a coach is quite suddenly over.

    Now, if you quit or retired at Woodward, I assume that they would post the position of director of debate, and actually recruit for the position like they would any other staff position.

    Again, awesome, but not common. The more common reaction from the administration to losing a debate coach is to shrug and delete a row from the budget spreadsheet. If some amazing individual comes along in a few years and wants to re-start the debate team, they start from scratch: begging for funding, trying to recruit, toiling for years before they even have varsity-level teams. It’s a thankless gig.

    And I mean, when you say that the real solution is paying teachers better and funding schools better, you are right. But the impetus for my post is that I’m not in a position to affect the public education system right now. We’ve gotta play the hand we’re dealt, and that means (to me) opening up debate to be as wide as possible so that even people who can only participate a little bit can leave a positive impact on the community.

    One more thought: you mention that there are kids who will want to be teachers/coaches and kids who don’t. I think that you are neglecting a third group: kids who are on the fence, telling themselves things like “I would coach debate but I’m not a good enough debater,” “I would coach debate but I can’t keep up with (local rival),” “I would coach debate but I’d have to leave for law school in 4 years anyway.” I think that we need to do everything we can to nudge these people in the direction of coaching, even for a little bit. When we (and I’m including myself in this) do things like bitch about parent judges, I think we are nudging people in the wrong direction.

  2. Nathan Ketsdever

    Great argument about Nietzsche destroying the impact and value filter and weighing mechanism for competing impacts (including the DA portions of the K).

    The aff isn’t necessarily a totalizing fear of suffering, especially if its deployed only as a local affirmation of these values.

  3. Sahan

    I was disappointed not to hear about alternatives to nihilism…art in particular. I dont know how you guys spend that long talking about totalizing ethics without describing different alternatives and how to answer them. Also what do you do if a team hands you a bag of dirt and says “here, is this enough ground for you?”

Comments are closed.